Thursday, December 23, 2004
Labels: computer hardware
Monday, December 13, 2004
Home from New Zealand
Sunday allowed me to repack my many purchases, and prepare for the trip home, while also enjoying a barbeque with the staff of Wintec. Monday morning we drove into Auckland, my fifth major city in New Zealand in five days. After the last of my shopping experiences on the main street in the Central Business District (CBD), I spent the rest of the afternoon with the staff at Unitec followed by a quick trip up One-Tree Hill, the highest spot in Auckland, to take in the magnificent 360 degree view. Then away to the airport for my flight home to LAX and Seattle.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Harnell-Young, Janette Ellis and the rest of the team in Melbourne for a well planned conference. I am very grateful to Stephen Harlow for making the trip to New Zealand happen, and his masterful job as tour guide and host. And finally, thanks to Chris Jager, International Representative to the ISTE Board, for her arranging the meeting in Auckland, as well as the brief tour up the hill for that magnificent view. I am so looking forward to coming back, and spending more time “down under” both in Australia and New Zealand. The people were so warm and engaged with both my ideas on portfolios as well as my work on digital storytelling. “I will be back.”
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
ePortfolio Australia conference
I am so impressed with the Australians. They really get it! This conference is smaller than the EuroPortfolio conference, but there is a lot of energy. Many people understood what I meant about assessment for learning (as contrasted with assessment of learning). It was also fun to have people walk up to me and say, "I have your CD and this is what I've done!" I feel more and more like Johnny Appleseed, planting seeds and watching them grow. Also, I made contact with someone who is working with a consultant in the Seattle area and may organize another ePortfolio conference for teachers in Australia in August or September. I hope I can come back when it is springtime here!
I chose to visit the Fraynework digital storytelling center just a few blocks from the conference location which was at the University of Melbourne. I never knew this non-profit organization existed, but they have been doing digital media production for the last nine years, Established by the Sisters of Mercy, this organization has about 20 employees doing web, multimedia and video production for CD, DVD and the WWW. As I watched their "Lore of the Land" CD on Australian Aboriginal people's relationship to their land, I felt like I could have been watching Alaska Native people who have the same worldview.
As the director of the center talked the opening presentation on the second day, she talked about the purpose of portfolios to be both for personal as well as social transformation. While social transformation hasn't been central to my vision, I can see the power of helping tell the stories of those whose voice is rarely heard. I was very impressed with her emphasis on social transformation.
There is so much going on here in Australia that links electronic portfolios and digital storytelling. Access to the Internet is another issue. There is no wireless available to conference participants, although I can go upstairs and get enough connectivity to download my e-mail. I only have full wireless connectivity in my hotel room at A$5 for 15 minutes at a time. I am finding that restriction reduces my communication, but it is not as much of a problem as not having my computer. I can prepare items to e-mail or upload to my website, and wait for the few minutes when I can be fully connected, But it forces me to be organized for those few minutes online! It also makes my replies very short!
Friday, December 03, 2004
This week Merriam-Webster Inc, the company responsible for producing that venerable dictionary announced its top 10 "words of the year" list, with the immensely popular "blog" taking the number one place. The company compiles the list each year by taking the most researched words on its various Web sites...
Our discussion focused on how to make the portfolio more than another assignment, to engage the learners in a more intrinsically motivating process and to see the relevance of their portfolios in the profession that they are preparing to enter. I further emphasized the "life skills" approach to using multimedia and web-based forms of communication in this century. But I also realized that I was talking to a small group that was at the cutting edge of portfolios at this institution. We have a long way to go to make the portfolio process accepted in the mainstream of formal higher education. But as we discussed, these activities are happening all around us, that if higher education doesn't start using some of these strategies, it will become more irrelevant to young learners in a digital age.
I am so impressed with the interest in digital storytelling here in Australia, with the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI), Fraynework digital storytelling, and Once Upon a Time digital storytelling all here in Melbourne.
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